Nixon, Hawkins Hit Cuomo On Energy Policies

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As hundreds of advocates rallied in Albany against climate change and to push Gov. Andrew Cuomo to do more on the issue, his office announced legislation on Monday that would institute a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags by 2019.

Susan Brockmann, one of hundreds of demonstrators who filled the State Capitol on Monday to rally for stronger environmental protections, said that NY should emulate California.

If you think about it, you get a plastic bag nearly every time you are at a grocery store, getting food to go, grabbing something at a gas station, or buying something anywhere.

The legislation doesn't specifically address whether reusable bags would be made available to shoppers or whether they would be expected to purchase them on their own.

Gov. Cuomo had set up a plastic bag task force to study the issue.

Nixon has her own plans for environmental policy, including a shift to 100 percent renewable energy in NY in the coming decades. On Monday, Mr. Felder said that he had not had time to review the Cuomo bill but that his opposition had to do with fees and taxes, not a ban per se.

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Each year New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags, making them a leading source of litter and plastic pollution.

The bill exempts garment bags, trash bags and any bags used to wrap or contain certain foods, such as fruits and sliced meats.

Cuomo's bill comes as he runs for reelection amid criticism from some environmentalists that he is not doing enough to protect the state's environment.

The governor says ten cities, towns, and villages already have plastic bag bans. One municipality has a plastic bag ban with a fee on single-use paper bags and bags that qualify as reusable, including 2.25 mil flexible plastic bags.

"Governor Cuomo is taking real, enforceable action today to reduce the scourge of plastic bag waste blighting our communities, state lands, and waters", said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Today's announcement reinforces the governor's standing as an innovative, forward-thinking environmental leader".

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